I remember being here before—the heat of summer, making the distances seem far—measured by sweat and the weight of the things I was carrying. I remember the in-between, having arrived at the edge of something and conscious of the way the future seemed a threatening blank, a time when whatever we do now will be judged by criteria that can only be guessed at. And now that particular future (as it was then) has come and gone, has become the past. Sampled, lifted up and examined, laughed over. So many of the same people are here, looking the same—the same places, looking pretty much the same. We’ve traveled so far, it seems, to arrive back at a familiar destination.
I’ve started teaching again, a lit class, a few high school students. Having been responsible for a baby’s life, keeping a child alive, happy, students don’t seem scary the way they used to. Improvisation, experimentation, the kind of play with abstract symbols and concepts that gives you the feeling of leaping off a cliff and spreading your arms wide like those crazy base jumpers soaring from some point high in the Alps to land, safe but not the same, at the bottom—this is what I hope, deep down, to teach them.